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20 Things You Have To Do When You Visit Costa Rica

If you are planning a visit to Costa Rica this summer or in the near future then you probably know that this green lush location has a lot to offer. But how should you make your decision on what to do when you get there? Here are 20 things you shouldn’t miss out on when you go.

1. Visit Arenal Volcano.

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No visit to Costa Rica would be complete without a visit to Arenal Volcano, one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes. There you can go on a hike to La Fortuna waterfall, a famous stop within the national park.

2. Take a tour of the Venado Caves.

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If you do visit Arenal Volcano, make sure to do the 4-hour underground tour of the Venado Caves from La Fortuna. There you will get wet and sweaty as you crawl through the small spots.

3. Visit Manuel Antonio National Park.

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A rainforest surrounded by white-sand beaches. This is the perfect location to go hiking, experience wildlife, and lounge by a beach.

4. Go on a coffee tour because, duh.

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Costa Rica is famous for their delicious coffee, so if you visit, make sure to make some time for a coffee tour. El Toledo Coffee Tour is one of the many coffee tours that Costa Rica offers but is unique because it is one of the few farms that don’t use any chemicals on their plants.

5. Visit the Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica.

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If you’re a performing arts fanatic make a stop to the Teatro Nacional de Costa Rica. Here you can take a tour of the building inside and see the beautiful neoclassical designs of the building.

6. Visit the National Museum of Costa Rica.

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Located in the capital of San Jose, this building was originally a military barracks but is now being used as a museum. Definitely a must-see fortress.

7. Go to a butterfly garden tour.

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Costa Rica has a lot of wildlife, including butterflies. In Costa Rica you can find many butterfly tours and it is definitely worth an experience.

8. Go snorkeling in the beautiful water.

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Not only are their jungles amazing but their sea life is spectacular. So, make sure you make time for some snorkeling when you make your visit to Costa Rica.

9. Go zip-lining through the jungle.

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What better way to see the jungles in Costa Rica than zip-lining. You’ll be high above the trees and witness the most spectacular views.

10. Stay overnight at the Nature Observatorio.

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If you’ve ever imagined what it would be like to live like Tarzan, this would be your opportunity to experience it. In Manzanillo, Costa Rica, there is a treehouse in the middle of the jungle where you can stay overnight. Here you will be able to watch wildlife in its real habitat and listen to the sounds of nature as you fall asleep.

11. Go horseback riding along the beach.

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To get the best views you must also go horseback riding. Stroll through the beach and rainforest on a horse in a guided tour.

12. Dip into some of the hot springs and ease your woes.

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Costa Rica has many hot springs locations and it’s an experience like no other. The hot springs here are surrounded by beautiful trees and wildlife.

13. For a thrill, visit a hanging bridge.

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One of the most amazing views you’ll get in Costa Rica is on top of a hanging bridge. Costa Rica even has a whole park dedicated to hanging bridges, Mistico Park. So, don’t miss out on this opportunity.

14. Water rafting will bring your family together for sure.

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If you’re an adrenaline junky then you’d probably enjoy some water rafting at La Fortuna. Luckily no previous experience of rafting is required to participate in this tour.

15. Go on an ATV tour.

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Speed through the jungle on an ATV riding through rugged mountain terrain and reaching a destination with an amazing view.

16. Bungee jump if you want to feel alive.

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If you want an even more adrenaline experience, Monteverde has the highest Bungee jump in Central America. Jump off a tram over the cloud forest.

17. Visit the Ruins of the Church of Carthage.

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If you’d like to learn more of the history of Costa Rica, don’t miss out on the Ruins of the Church of Carthage.

18. Visit the Rio Celeste Waterfall and experience awe-inspiring nature at her best.

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The beautiful blue water of this waterfall is the product of a chemical reaction between the minerals from the volcano and the rainforest. You’ll be amazed by this sight.

19. Why not try some deep sea fishing while you are there?

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Catch a fish by Los Suenos Marina, a marina in Costa Rica with a full-service port.

20. And, of course, you might as well try out surfing.

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Being a world class surfing destination, don’t miss out on the opportunity to surf on the Costa Rican coastline.

This Is Why It’s Not A Good Idea To Take A Selfie With Wild Animals In Costa Rica

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This Is Why It’s Not A Good Idea To Take A Selfie With Wild Animals In Costa Rica

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When you think of Costa Rica, what do you think of? Maybe its volcanoes? Or possibly its luxurious beaches? Or maybe just the fact that it’s home to some of the happiest people on the planet? Well, now you’ll know Costa Rica for something else: its animal conservation efforts. How, you ask? Through discouraging tourist selfies with wild animals.

Warning: there are some confronting animal selfies below – so best avoid reading further if you don’t want to see them.

Costa Rica is the leader when it comes to public consciousness around selfies with animals.

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While it’s common to see a polite sign here and there in tourist spots asking visitors to be respectful of animals, the Costa Rica Tourism Institute has now gone another step further by launching a social media campaign against the practice of taking selfies with wild animals. We probably shouldn’t be surprised – with 20 national parks, in addition to a bunch of reserves, animal refuges and protected areas, 26 percent of Costa Rica’s land is protected in the name of conservation. It only seems natural that Costa Rica would also pioneer a campaign on Insta under the simple hashtag #stopanimalselfies.

Chances are you’re probably, like us, wondering why the campaign isn’t using a Spanish hashtag.

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The Costa Rican government are one step ahead: they know that the main offenders chasing wild animal selfies are English-speaking tourists, so they’re largely focusing their efforts on communicating with said English-speaking tourists.

“Our visitors must know the negative impact caused by selfies and photos showing direct contact with wild animals. Our goal and responsibility as global leaders in environmental issues is to educate and encourage new world ambassadors committed to wildlife protection,” said the Vice Minister of Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), Pamela Castillo, when asked about the initiative in an interview with CNN Travel.

It’s worth knowing that there are quite a number of reasons to refrain from taking selfies with wild animals. 

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The first, and biggest, reason to not take selfies with wild animals is that, because they’re not tame animals, they’ll likely freak out if you try to get close up and personal with them. Wild animals definitely don’t understand what the heck a selfie is, and trying to take one with them will likely endanger both you and the animal. Who’s to say that the wild animal won’t try to land a scratch on someone trying to get a selfie with it – and that person won’t try to defend themselves? And who’s to say that such a scratch won’t become infected? It’s a much better time on your vacation if you don’t get an infection.

Another thing to think about is that interaction with humans that really mess up a wild animal’s life.

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For starters, it may scare the animals away from their natural habitat, which essentially risks scaring them away from reliable food sources and a safe environment. Traumatized animals may have trouble having babies – which can cause a decline in the animal population. These are all things we definitely want to avoid. Especially since Costa Rica is home to some species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

Some people use the opportunity to make money at the expense of animals’ well-being.

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Possibly the worst thing to come out of the taking-selfies-with-wild-animals trend is that there are some less scrupulous humans who see it as a potential source of income. Yes, that means that they charge to get people up close and personal with unique animals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these animals are well-cared for, or even tame, for that matter. They’re just kept in captivity for a quick buck. Yikes.

The good news is that there are alternatives available.

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Just because you can’t take a selfie with a wild animal doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get a photo with them. Animal rights group World Animal Protection has said that it’s a-OK to take a “selfie” with wild animals if you’re a safe distance from them. Think along the lines of a photo where you look like you’re photobombing from the front. Another two things that World Animal Protection has stipulated make for an ethical wildlife photo-taking are pictures where the animal is in its natural home, and is free to move. Basically, snaps of animals in the wild, undisturbed, just doing their thing, are totally fine.

On the other hand, the Costa Rican Tourism Institute has also offered alternatives to selfies with wild animals

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Juan Santamaría International Airport currently has a setup where you can take cute selfies with plushies. Not only will this mean that you can contribute to the movement of people avoiding animal exploitation, joining an ethical movement will also do so much more for your social media clout anyways.

The Trump Administration Took Another Swipe At Cuba By Banning Almost All Flights To The Island

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The Trump Administration Took Another Swipe At Cuba By Banning Almost All Flights To The Island

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From Day One the Trump Administration made it clear that they wouldn’t be continuing the same diplomatic efforts with Cuba that the Obama Administration had started. Trump has indicated he is not a fan of the current Cuban regime nor Obama’s rapprochement and there were plenty of right-leaning Cuban-Americans who have supported his plans.

However, Trump’s latest move against the island risks not only angering American tourists who wish to visit the Communist island nation but also those same Cuban-Americans who wish to visit their family members still living on the island.

A new rule bans all flights to Cuba outside of the capital of Havana.

The Trump administration is banning U.S. flights to all Cuban cities but Havana in the latest move to roll back the Obama-era easing of relations.

The State Department said JetBlue flights to Santa Clara in central Cuba and the eastern cities of Holguin, Camaguey would be banned starting in December. American Airlines flights to Camaguey, Holguin and Santa Clara, the beach resort of Varadero and the eastern city of Santiago are also being banned.

Flights to Havana, which account for the great majority of U.S. flights to Cuba, will remain legal.

The stated reason for the move is to prevent tourism to Cuba, which is banned by U.S. law. But it is not clear how many people take the flights for tourism purposes. Many are used by Cuban-Americans visiting relatives in cities far from Havana by road.

“This action will prevent the Castro regime from profiting from U.S. air travel and using the revenues to repress the Cuban people,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter. Raul Castro stepped down as president last year but remains head of the Communist Party, the country’s highest authority. 

The ban, which goes into effect on Dec. 10, was announced Friday by the Department of Transportation.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao that the flights are being suspended indefinitely because of Cuba’s repression of its people and support for Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro.

An excerpt of the letter said the move was to “further the administration’s policy of strengthening the economic consequences to the Cuban regime for its ongoing repression of the Cuban people and its support” for Maduro.

Two major US-based airlines and travelers with tickets already purchased with them will be affected by this latest crackdown.

American Airlines and JetBlue both fly routes to cities in Cuba other than Havana and will have to end those routes in accordance with the new regulations.

JetBlue said in a statement Friday that it plans to operate in full compliance with the new policy.

“We are beginning to work with our various government and commercial partners to understand the full impact of this change on our customers and operations in Camagüey, Holguín and Santa Clara,” the airline said.

American Airlines said it was also working to comply. American said it currently operates 11 daily flights in Cuba, six of which are in Havana.

“We are reviewing today’s announcement regarding service to non-Havana airports in Cuba,” the airline said in a statement. “We will continue to comply with federal law, work with the administration, and update our policies and procedures regarding travel to Cuba as necessary.”

The White House’s restrictions are yet another roll back of the friendlier relationship President Obama began with Cuba before the end of his administration.

In June the Department of the Treasury and the State Departmentsaid group educational or cultural trips to Cuba, or “people-to-people” travel, would no longer be permitted.

“Veiled tourism has served to line the pockets of the Cuban military, the very same people supporting Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela and repressing the Cuban people on the island,” the Department of State said in a statement at the time.

Last year the State Department added 26 tourist attractions to a long list of restricted sites Americans are barred from visiting in Cuba, including hotels, marinas and shops.

It is still legal for Americans to visit Cuba, though the increased sanctions and restrictions on travel have dampened interest and reduced tourism dramatically.